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Jason, Marine Mechanic
Category: Boat
Satisfied Customers: 14172
Experience:  Degree in Marine Technology. Gas and diesel marine mechanic.
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I have a 17 foot Boston Whaler with a Mercury 90 hp four

Customer Question

I have a 17 foot Boston Whaler with a Mercury 90 hp four stroke outboard motor (2004). When I squeeze the gas bulb, the motor starts, immediately begins to click, runs for a brief period of time, then shuts off. If I squeeze the gas bulb again, the motor starts, clicks, and shuts off after running for a brief period of time. I have repeated this several times, with the same result. Diaphragm? Carburetor? Something else??? Would like to be able to take advantage of the short New England boating season. Help.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Boat
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Hi Allen, my name is Jason.

Will the engine stay running if you pump the primer bulb over and over and over?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I haven't tried that exactly, as the steering wheel is away from the motor. However, since it keeps starting after priming, I think it would. The first time this happened, before needing to be towed, I was able to make progress by gunning the motor - pushing the throttle forward quickly, then backing off, pushing the throttle forward quickly before the motor stops.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have to squeeze several times to make it start
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Are you able to run the boat now to try doing that?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Boat now on trailer
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Got it. Well, based on what you wrote it sounds like the fuel pump is out. When you pump the bulb what you are doing is forcing fuel through the pump, and on to the rest of the fuel system. This can be tested on land with a vacuum gauge. To test it, what would need to happen is you would pump the bulb until it firms up. Disconnect the fuel line from the fuel pump. Install a vacuum gauge in its place. Start the engine up, and let it idle. The fuel pump should generate 5 to 7 inches of mercury pretty quickly, within 10 seconds. If it does not, the pump is bad. Does that make sense to you?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
there's the clck
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Can you tell where the clicking is coming from?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This sounds good. Estimated cost?
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

Mercurys are cataloged by serial number, can you get me the serial number on the engine, I can look up the pump, and get you a part number and actual cost.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Can't tell exactly. Steady clicking, maybe one click per second.
Expert:  Jason replied 4 months ago.

I wouldn't know that without being in front of the motor myself. Can you take a video with sound and upload it to youtube?

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